Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
| Stade Olympique|
The Big O
|Location||4549 Avenue Pierre de Coubertin|
Montreal, Quebec H1V 3N7
|Broke Ground||April 28, 1973|
|Opened|| July 17, 1976 (Olympics)|
April 15, 1977 (Baseball)
|Surface|| AstroTurf (1977–2003)|
|Owner||Régie des Installations Olympiques (Government of Quebec)|
|Construction Cost||C$ 770 million|
|Left Field||325 ft / 99 m|
|Left-Center||375 ft / 114 m|
|Center Field||404 ft / 123 m|
|Right-Center||375 ft / 114 m|
|Right Field||325 ft / 99 m|
|Backstop||53 ft / 16 m|
Stade Olympique (English: Olympic Stadium) is a multi-purpose stadium located in Montreal. It hosted ceremonies for the 1976 Summer Olympics and was the home ballpark of Major League Baseball's Montreal Expos from 1977 until the franchise was moved to Washington, DC at the end of the 2004 season. The park opened for baseball on April 15, 1977, with the Philadelphia Phillies beating the Montreal Expos 7-2. The Expos played their home games at the stadium from then on, excepting 13 games played on the road in 1991 and 22 home games played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico in each of the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Their final home game was a 9-1 loss against the Florida Marlins on September 29, 2004.
Nicknamed "The Big O", the stadium was designed to be a very elaborate facility and was to feature a retractable roof, which was to be retracted by a huge 556 foot (approx. 169 1/2 meters) tower—a foot taller than the Washington Monument, the tallest inclined structure in the world, and the sixth tallest building in Montreal—located outside of the stadium. Designed by Paris architect Roger Taillibert, the park was very expensive, with the total cost of the stadium being over C$1 billion. Due to its extremely high cost, the stadium has also been dubbed The Big Owe.
Problems plagued the stadium from the time it opened for the Olympic Games. The 58,500 seat stadium was not fully completed in time for the games due to strikes by construction workers. Both the tower and the roof, made of over 60,000 feet (approximate 18,500 meters) of kevlar, were not completed for over a decade, and it wasn't until 1988 when it was possible to retract the roof. The 65-ton roof then proved difficult to retract, and was occasionally torn in heavy winds.
The roof is only 52 metres / 171 feet above the field of play. As a result, a number of pop-ups and long home runs have hit the roof since play began, necessitating the painting of orange lines on the roof to separate foul balls from fair balls.
Olympic Stadium was remodeled in 1991, with 12,000 seats being removed for Expos games. On September 8 of that year, support beams snapped and caused a 55 ton concrete slab to fall on to an interior walkway. No one was injured, but the Expos had to play their final 13 home games on the road. The following season, the retractable roof concept was abandoned in favor of a permanent cover. The fixed roof was removed in May of 1998, turning the park into an outdoor stadium for the season. A new permanent roof was installed for the 1999 season and has remained on the park since.
In addition to the Expos, the park was home to the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes for a number of years, but they now use the Percival Molson Stadium of McGill University. However, the stadium is often still used for the team's playoff games. The stadium also has various other multipurpose uses: indoor exhibitions, monster truck shows, and so forth. Among its options for the future of the stadium, the Quebec government is known to be studying its demolition, a project that would cost a further $500 million and be very technically complex. 
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